Bright Light

Monday, December 12 (into the 13th), 2016.  So cliche, but sometimes you just need to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  The goal posts moved on us in the fall because I frankly wasn’t paying enough attention (and reading all the wrong stuff on the internet).  And while I was disappointed, I knew what was at stake and that we would get there.  [To say scary and strange thoughts don’t go through your mind at various and completely random times after something like this happens would be a complete lie.  That said, if you aren’t positive and confident then you can’t make the most of the moment, even when the “moment” might suck.   Easy for me to say (especially now), yet I think I have been consistent.  [Even when we were told (wrongly) on day three this was a jump ball.]

But a couple of weeks ago, when the end of 2016 was really in sight and there were no more delays, even for a couple of days because of blood counts etc., things just clicked and the light was actually on.   And just so the record is clear, this was before — and in between — my current week on Dexamethasone (which I have been on and off of for 8 months).   Dexamethasone is a steroid.  Among other things, it masks pain and makes you wired.  Since Wednesday of last week the dosage is 20mg/per day (tomorrow is the last day).   For the first 26 days (in April and May) it was 125 mg/per day of Prednisone (another steroid that is even stronger).  To put this in context, last night I passed out watching the Giants game with Jake at 9:00 pm and slept until 4:30 am.   It was the first time I slept more than 2 hours since last Tuesday.   And I feel good right now (it is 2:21 am and I had a full day).   I felt good in April too but it was just different…..

  • We had Ryan’s parent/teacher conference today.   I was pumped to be there.  And I was so proud of him.   We took him for 16 Handles yogurt after (he actually left school at lunch today because he wasn’t feeling fell, which is a story in and of itself).  [He is totally fine and I will not embarrass him here because he is going to read this one day.  Ryan if you don’t remember what happened when you see this make sure to ask —  I will not forget it.  Feel bad it happened, but I loved having lunch together and watching one of our new favorites shows together (Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives).]  As we were walking into the yogurt store, which usually gives me a stomach ache, I told Jen and Ryan I was going to run into the drug store down the way as I “needed” a few things.  No questions asked, Jen gave me the credit card.   I bought a bunch of things I do not need.  But I really went in there because I know they sell the small containers of things for travel that are easily checked through your carry on bag.   A little sick, I know.   It felt so good to buy this stuff (lots of which I will never use) for so many different reasons.

 

  • I have been unplugged from work during this journey.   I have certainly talked to my partners/friends and many people in the restructuring community over the last 8 months and am generally familiar with what is happening, but the focus has been getting healthy.  I can’t thank my partners and firm enough for having my family’s back in so many ways to make this possible.   I am fortunate and completely aware that this is not the case for everyone.   And I am also fortunate and completely aware that not everyone gets to plug back in.  But a few weeks ago, with that light really on, it suddenly felt that plugging-in wasn’t just going to happen at some point.  It was going to happen soon.   I am far from plugged in (Jen and I are going to the mall tomorrow am and we ran errands together today) and I know it is going to take some time before I am in game shape (after 5 more days of chemo between this week and next), but knowing the return is in hand makes a big difference in the mental game.  You can actually reach for the plug and talk about it.

 

  • I walked on the treadmill today for the third day in a row.   I walked a good amount (and even worked out a tiny tiny bit) over the last 8 months, but I embraced a lack of activity at various times.  I procrastinated today but got myself on the treadmill at 7:30 pm.  That would not have happened a few months ago.   I also ordered dinner and made Jen pick it up (after she put Brandon and Ryan to sleep).  As selfish as it felt, it felt normal because I knew I needed to exercise (which is why Jen and I work well together).   And this isn’t to say that I have done more around this house in the past 8 months than I usually do (doing more vs. being around are two totally different things and Jen has always done everything for all four of us, more so in the last 8 months than ever).  Even though Jen commented that picking up food was the last thing she wanted to do at 7:40 pm, I think she kind of liked the feeling too…..have I mentioned I love my wife, always knew I outkicked the coverage when she married me, but really got to appreciate her strength and courage during a time that was harder for her than anyone else by a long shot?  And, while I may be bias, I don’t think you will hear anyone challenge that she is a super mom in every sense.

 

  • I went to the end of Jake’s basketball practice today because I knew I could and in just a few weeks, it is not going to be “as easy” to get there when things return to normal.   I get that and appreciate it.

 

  • I am pretty sure I have a good perspective on who I am and what is important.  I know I will never take my health for granted.   But actually being concerned that I keep this new perspective 6 months or even 6 years down the road is a great problem to have.   That too I appreciate.   I think monthly chemo treatments with quarterly spinal taps for the next three years will be a good reminder, but I don’t subscribe to this “is all a bad dream that you will forget in no time” theory.  Dreams are dreams.   Reality is different.  I am pretty sure I have changed.  The proof will be in the pudding.   Again, a great problem to have and one I am happy for people to remind me of if there a loss of focus.   But I am not planning to do anything all that different or make any significant changes.  I am just going to be a little smarter, more reflective and hopefully able to keep things in perspective regularly (not just when you’re forced to).  And as the great Gary Newman (who I got to spend time with earlier tonight) told me in late April, I am going to continue to subscribe to the “don’t think; just play” mentality.   I think about this a lot and say it all the time.   Just four words that are easy to say but hard to actually obey.  [Jake got a note from me yesterday making two points before his basketball games, this one included.  Ryan will get one later this week before he has a basketball practice.  Not to worry Big H, I have so much material from your boys and I intend to use it all.]

 

One thought on “Bright Light”

  1. Josh, Your posts have been an inspiration as well as a revelation. I am filled with admiration for you stoicism, strength of purpose, focus, philosophical sense of acceptance, personal insight, and obvious devotion to and concern for your family and friends. I am truly happy for you and deeply thankful that you are seeing light at the end of the tunnel and that the worst of the treatment is behind you. Whilst there is a great deal more to life than work, I can fully understand that you are champing at the bit to get back into it. You are blessed to have been surrounded by so much love and support and to have such supportive and faithful colleagues as the team at K&E. Very best wishes to you and your family, ASG

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